Briggs: Keep asking for help

Published 12:06 am Friday, July 13, 2012


His message is a simple one – keep reaching out.

After all, if anyone is qualified to give those words of advice, Adolph Briggs Jr. is.

Briggs, who is facing charges of domestic violence and arson after a nearly three-hour standoff in a June in Andalusia, said Thursday he’s spent the last month getting the help he needed.

“That day, the best way I can explain it, is – I blew my top; I just came unglued,” Briggs said.

He said he only remembers bits and pieces – “like movie scenes” – of the day’s events. He doesn’t remember making any calls or setting the fire that destroyed the couple’s home.

He said intense issues – both in his marriage and with his health – led to a nervous breakdown. The incident on June 13 was the result, when Briggs called area media outlets, including The Star-News, stating he was going to kill himself at his home on Johnson Street.

It was learned that Briggs was battling depression as a result of a diagnosis of a rare cancer of the appendix and stomach called, “PMP,” or pseudomyxoma peritonei. Statistics show that 1 in 1 million people in the U.S. are affected by the disease.

For hours, negotiators attempted to get Briggs out of the home. At one point, the home caught fire, and finally, after suffering from smoke inhalation, Briggs made his way to the front porch and was rescued by police. Briggs said he now thinks the fire was started by a forgotten cigarette.

“I guess I made those calls because I thought if something happened, it wasn’t going to happen in private,” he said.

Briggs said because of his military service and a 30 percent disability rating, he was receiving both cancer treatment and psychiatric treatment from the VA. To deal with his anxiety issues, he was given “tons of pills.”

“And when things didn’t get better, they gave me more and told me to take more,” Briggs said.

Briggs said he realizes now that prescription routine, coupled with a lack of therapy and issues related to his cancer, was at the root of his problem. He and his wife have separated; however, with the help of his parents, Briggs made the first step in his recovery, he said. He was committed for in-house treatment at Searcy Mental Hospital. He has since been released, but continues treatment on an outpatient basis – a practice he plans to continue from now on, he said.

“I knew I needed to be some place that I could get the help I needed,” he said. “I’m not a bad guy. I love my family very much. I’m not some bum off the street, and that’s what I want everyone to know.

“People who are going through issues, you have to reach out and keep reaching out,” he said. “Talk to someone, anyone. It doesn’t matter who. Stop keeping it in. Reach out. I recognize I have to deal with things – everything from that day, being sick, struggling financially – and I have to talk about it. People would do well to pay attention to that lesson.”

Briggs continues to fight for additional VA benefits and to travel to Atlanta for cancer treatments. He will appear tonight in municipal court to face the domestic violence charge. It is unknown when he will face the arson charge.